Posture & Lower Back Pain
Whether at work, at home, or out playing with the kids, the same key elements can influence the onset of lower back pain.
How we care for our posture has a direct effect on the degree to which lower back pain can occur. Being aware of ‘better’ ways to sit, stand, and walk can go somewhat towards easing symptoms. More importantly, by having a greater understanding of posture awareness and education it is possible to remove the triggers that can eventually lead to lower back pain. In essence, the level of posture care we embody now can lead to long-term health and wellbeing of the spine, and more importantly, the person as a whole.
Poor Standing Posture
Prolonged standing has a direct effect on those suffering lower back pain. The longer we stand the more difficult it becomes to find a comfortable standing position that we can sustain without pain. When someone without lower back pain stands for an extended period of time they will frequently move to find a comfortable resting place. This has the effect of moving muscle strain and fatigue from spot to another, spreading the responsibility over a greater number of muscles and joints. While this works well for those without lower back pain, this subtle movement pattern is considerably less frequent with those suffering lower back pain. This highlights the importance and need for lower back pain sufferers to frequently move from a prolonged to ease the pressure applied to the lower back and especially the over used muscles. When standing we should also consider the impact the legs are having on the pelvis, and further up to the lower back. Restrictions within the legs can also directly impact how well we are able to stand for long periods of time. For example, having tight hamstrings can affect standing posture, and as well as directly impacting lower back pain.
Sitting For Too Long
Finding a comfortable and stable sitting position is important in maintaining a healthy lumbar spine, easing the incidence of lower back pain.
Sitting for extended periods of time can directly impact our ability to support a healthy sitting posture, and especially the way our lower back adjusts and rests with prolonged sitting.
Working With Poor Posture
When leaning forward to pick up a load, leaning over equipment, or even picking up a piece of paper off the floor, it is important to be aware of the positioning of your lumbar spine (lower back).
Research has shown that forward bending from the standing position can place the lumbar spine at risk of accident. A study in 2007 demonstrated that from a standing ‘forward bent’ position it was difficult to be exactly sure of the position the lower back was in.
A lack of postural awareness can quite easily:
- Place the lumbar spine in a poor posture for lifting,
- Limit our ability to maintain a posture to complete a task
- Increase the chance of damaging your lower back.
- Have an impact on our ability to know the exact placement of the lower back while leaning forward,
Posture, Core Strength, and Lower Back Pain
How we stand and sit (posture) can have a significant effect on the degree to which lower back pain can affect us. Research has shown that poor posture patterns including sway back posture in standing, and slouched or ‘slumped’ sitting posture can impact on the long-term health of the deep abdominal muscle – transverse abdominal. When we keep up a balanced standing and sitting posture, the transverse abdominal muscle will function as normal, stabilising the spine and improving the overall wellbeing of the lumbar spine region.
When poor posture patterns are found such as extended periods of sitting at the desk or standing against a workbench for hours on end, the activity level (meaning how well and often it contracts) of this important muscle decreases hindering our ability to maintain balanced and stable posture.